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61. Food Webs and Container Habitats
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62. Statistical Power Analysis for
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63. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human
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64. Perfume : The Art and Science
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65. Darwin's Dangerous Idea : Evolution
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66. Research Proposals: A Guide to
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67. An Introduction to the History
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68. Ideas & Opinions
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69. The Los Alamos Primer: The First
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70. Institutional Review Board: Management
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71. March Of Unreason: Science, Democracy,
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73. Experiments in Modern Physics
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75. The Do's: Osteopathic Medicine
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77. The U Boat Commanders Handbook
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78. Why People Believe Weird Things:
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79. The Geneticist Who Played Hoops
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80. Fermat's Enigma : The Epic Quest

61. Food Webs and Container Habitats : The Natural History and Ecology of Phytotelmata
by R. L. Kitching
list price: $130.00
our price: $130.00
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Asin: 0521773164
Catlog: Book (2000-08-03)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 627042
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Book Description

The animal communities in plant-held water bodies, such as tree holes and pitcher plants, are models for food web studies. In this book, Professor Kitching introduces us to these fascinating miniature worlds and demonstrates how they can be used to tackle some of the major questions in community ecology. Based on his thirty years of research around the world, he presents much previously unpublished information, as well as summarizing over a hundred years of natural history observations made by others. The book covers many aspects of the theory of food web formation and maintenance presented with field-collected information on tree holes, bromeliads, pitcher plants, bamboo containers, and the axils of fleshy plants. ... Read more


62. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences
by Jacob Cohen
list price: $115.00
our price: $115.00
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Asin: 0805802835
Catlog: Book (1988-01-15)
Publisher: Lea
Sales Rank: 138579
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Power Analysis Text
Cohen does a masterful job of taking the guesswork out of statistical power estimation. This text provides procedural guidelines for determining power for many designs, and can be quite helpful in determining proper sample sizes. Not for the casual reader, but a necessary addition to any serious researchers statistical library.

5-0 out of 5 stars The classic statistical power reference.
Clearly, a must for every statistical library. This book is considered the authority on power analysis. ... Read more


63. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach, Shelly Frasier
list price: $34.99
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Asin: 1400100976
Catlog: Book (2003-08-10)
Publisher: Tantor Media
Sales Rank: 96309
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Unabridged Audiobook - 8 CDs - Read by Shelly Frasier ... Read more

Reviews (127)

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
This is a very entertaining and interesting book about human cadavers--what happens when you die, the history of dissection, the University of Tennessee "body farm," what dead bodies can tell you about airline crashes, how bodies are used for impact testing, flaws in Dr. Pierre Barbet's studies of crucifixion found by Frederick Zugibe, the process of "organ recovery" from "beating-heart cadavers" for transplants, the survival of severed heads (guillotine and transplantation), mummies and cannibalism, etc. Roach writes in a somewhat flippant style that somehow seems appropriate for the topic, it's never quite irreverent.
My only complaint: p. 126: Roach seems to think that the FAA should force the implementation of safety measures that come out negative on a cost-benefit analysis (given the value of human life at $2.7 million, if shoulder harnesses save 15 lives over 20 years, that's not enough if it costs $669 million to implement). What she fails to recognize is the opportunity cost of such spending--$669 million spent to save 15 lives over 20 years could save thousands of lives if spent elsewhere instead. There is no infinite fund of money available to save lives at any cost.

4-0 out of 5 stars Speaking with the Dead
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is a very original if somewhat disturbing read. If you ever wondered what happens to a body when it dies, if you ever wondered what kind of research is being done on corpses, if you ever wondered what happens if you "donate" your body to science, then this is the book for you. If any of these topics sent a shiver down your spine (or did much worst), then I advise you to stay far away from this one.

The real charm of the book is that, while being very informative and straight to the point, Roach's writing is often humorous in a morbid way that often brought a smile to my lips. She remarks some things that I would never had even thought of and makes some jokes that, done by any other author, could have seem tasteless (in fact, her humour is what makes this book such a fascinating read).

There wasn't a single chapter in this little tome that I didn't find fascinating, but some stood out more than others. In How To Know If You're Dead, Roach examines the different theories about the human soul to try and locate its presence (is it in the heart? the brain? the liver?). In Beyond the Black Box, she explains what happens to someone who is victim of a plane crash and how experts determine the cause of the crash. In Lifer After Death, Roach explains the different stages of decomposition. And in Just A Head, Roach examines the very strange subject of decapitation.

If this all sounds morbid, well, it is. But Roach's book is so well researched and informative that it all goes down easy for the reader. Roach never shies away from the truth, no matter how gruesome it may get.

Is this one for everyone? Not nearly. The topic will put off some, while the vivid imagery with turn off many others. But if you have the heart (and stomach) to take this one in, the ride will make you discover things you never knew about death, and will confirm or finally put to rest other assumptions you could have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great fun and VERY different
When you look up the term "Off the beaten path" in the dictionary, you will, without a doubt, see a copy of this book. Who would have thought a book on this subject would have been successful? Stiff is, without a doubt, a bizarre yet remarkably engaging read: not surprising since Roach is such a terrific writer. The author possesses the ingenious ability of being able to make digestible the most repulsive of subjects. Curious, yet not callus, Roach manages to ask-and yes, answer-questions often best left unspoken (keeping in mind public decorum). Furthermore, Roach is hilarious. If you like weird, funny, and not-for-the squeamish books, try "The Bark of the Dogwood--a tour of southern homes and gardens. Equally parts funny, morose, insightful, and well-done.

5-0 out of 5 stars On my way to a colonoscopy...
...I was chatting with the nurses and told them that I've been reading a fascinating book that they might be interested in. When I told them the title, a couple squirmed and the one who was going to assist at my procedure wanted some details, immediately. I thought my timing was probably a little off, but being a risk-taker, I offered a few stories. As the medication began to lull me into the twilight zone, I heard her say that she wanted to read the book and that she would take care of me (!) I lived to write this review and will be sending her a copy of the book as a thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Read
This book is so informative, funny, thorough, reverent, and all around amazing... so much so that I am recommending it to all of my friends. Like a previous post stated, Roach's prose really makes you feel as if she is your best friend (she is hysterical!), and her in-depth look at the 'curious lives' of cadavers leaves little to the imagination. Be sure to read all of the footnotes... some of the witiest comments that I have ever read are waiting within. Overall, this book is so, so good in everyway! Get it now... you won't regret it. ... Read more


64. Perfume : The Art and Science of Scent
by Cathy Newman
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0792273788
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: National Geographic
Sales Rank: 146458
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Essence of Illusion

Promise her anything...but give her Perfume. This bewitching, lavishly illustrated book explores every aspect of the fascinating yet little-known art and science of scent, which for thousands of years has worked its powerfully seductive magic on men and women all over the world.

You'll witness every stage of the development of a perfume, from the rose fields of rural Morocco to the finest department stores of Paris and New York. You'll attend a school for perfumers in Provence where hopeful apprentices hone their skills, meet the legendary alchemists who create complex, closely guarded formulas, which can be worth millions, and listen in as executives devise strategies for tapping the 15-billion-dollar-a-year perfume market -- an intensely competitive arena where failure can literally destroy a company.

Throughout, you'll glory in stunning color photographs that capture all the elegance and romance of an art where image is truly everything -- the sensuous shape of a crystal flask filled with amber enchantment, the alluring promise of a whiff of scent on a gentle evening breeze, the extraordinary power of perfume to evoke the memory of a treasured moment. Glamorous, mysterious, enthralling, this is a book as sophisticated and irresistible as the classic art it celebrates. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Informative
This book gave a fascinating history and overview of the use and creation of perfumes. It all seemed to have started when Romans wore perfume-soaked garments and shoes while Egyptians placed perfumed unguents in their hair to produce a slowly diffused scent that surrounded them.

From Catherine de Medici in the 16th century to Coty to Coco Chanel, there has been a connection between fashion and fragrance. During this time, the perfume bottle has evolved from a simple container to sculpture, often giving identity to a scent.

I learned that to be called "perfume", there must be an oil concentration of 22% or more. Eau de parfum has a 15-22% oil concentration while eau de toilette has 8-15% concentration of oil. Cologne has less than 5%.

The average fragrance has 60-100 ingredients and complex ones can have 300. Estee Lauder's "Beautiful" has 700 ingredients, which is a record.....and its formula is 12 pages long!

The perfumer must have a vast knowledge of raw materials and also of chemistry. There are only about 400 perfumers in the world and their training can take 10-15 years.

One reason why perfume can be so expensive is the amount of an ingredient needed to yield what the perfumers use. For example, two tons of rose petals are needed to yield just one pound of rose oil! Petals must also be quickly picked as the amount of oil that they yield diminishes as the day goes on.

I found the explanation of "headspace technology" very interesting. There are machines that vacuum up the molecules of a scent and then run them through machines that separate the fragrance into chemical components and identify them. This is particularly valuable when collecting the scent of a rare plant or when it is desirable to leave the plant in its natural environment.

A very informative and beautiful book. The accompanying photos are lovely and give the reader an added level of understanding.

3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Pictures
This is a better-than-average coffee table book that gives a very personal account of the author's introduction to the history of the art of perfumery. Good inside information on advertising and perfume promotion. Who knew that CoCo Chanel was such a...freak? If you're looking for specific information about how perfumes are made, as I was, look elsewhere. You can zip through this book in about an hour.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book! A Unique Blend of Artistry and Science.
This bewitching, lavishly illustrated book does really explore every aspect of the fascinating yet little know art and science of scent. This book is very detailed from the beginning to the end.

The photography is stunning and spectaclar! It captures all the elegance and romance of an art where image is truly everything.

The book is very well written. It takes you through a very vivid journey into the fascinating world of fragrance. Sophisticated and irresistible as the classic it celebrates.

I have read this glamous, enthralling book twice and plan to place it on my coffee table as a conversational piece. It is well worth the money, every cents and then some.

TRULY THE ESSENCE OF ILLUSION!

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
All I can say is that this book is great. The auther Mrs. Cathy Ellen Newman, can make writing seem more like an art then an occupation. Learning about the proccess of how perfume is made and the science of it is just fascinating even our dignified leader, Mr. Sadahm Housane as insane as he is would like it very much and I hope he orders a copy soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous and enthralling look at the perfume business.
This book follows the story of the business of perfume. It traces the scent from harvesting the raw materials and the art of the perfumer, to the packaging and marketing of the finished product. It is a story of the perfume business, not a guide to making perfume.

I read this entire book within two days of receiving it. The text is light but fascinating. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs by Robb Kendrick. The photos are a sumptuous addition to the story and bring the text to life.

This book is beautiful and enthralling. Highly recommended. ... Read more


65. Darwin's Dangerous Idea : Evolution and the Meanins of Life
by Daniel Dennett
list price: $30.00
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Asin: 0684802902
Catlog: Book (1995-05-10)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 163105
Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day. ... Read more

Reviews (118)

5-0 out of 5 stars Forceful, persuasive presentation of natural selection
Richard Dawkins books, starting with The "Selfish Gene," brought Darwin's dangerous idea of natural selection to a new widespread recognition. He addressed an audience that otherwise might not have been inspired to engage Darwin, and left them with the amazing and somewhat disturbing implications of a world guided by the Darwinian hand of selection and adaptation rather than the divine hand of the Bible.

In "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," Dennett takes the flag of natural selection on to its next step, toward a secular view of nature where meaning may be found in natural history. Dennett is a forceful and persuasive polemicist capable of making Darwin's core idea both understandable and hard to argue.

Sure, many will remain unconvinced that the "universal acid" of Darwin's algorithm of variation and selection reveals the bare bones of just about anything, as Dennett argues. But Dennett does exactly what we expect from an excellent analytic philosopher of his calibre, and all too often don't get, a powerful and enduring argument for the usefulness of a very basic idea.

The greatest danger of Darwin's idea is not, as many religious conservatives seem to fear, that Darwin will erode faith in God. As powerful as Darwin's dangerous idea is, it has not itself been a threat to religious faith. The faithful have always had a way to reconcile their faith with the modern view of natural history along Darwinian lines. The greatest danger is that Darwin's idea seduces us into telling second rate evolutionary stories that don't add to our real understanding the way Darwin's core concept does. As Dennett says, the greatest danger of Darwin's idea is its seductiveness.

Dennett brings the power of Darwin's view of nature to us in a renewed and clarified form, and makes many of its implication startlingly clear. But then he leaves us to wonder what is left once the "universal acid" of Darwinism had eroded the rest of our cherished ideas.

Dennett doesn't always convince me that he has quite eroded *all* of the other ways of viewing nature by making such a forceful case for Darwin's selection and adaptation, but he does make it clear that these are ideas that must be understood and applied if we are to truly understand our role in nature. Whether we can take them as far as Dennett does, that's left to the reader to decide.

While I can't agree with all of the nuances and implications of Dennett's arguments here, it is very hard to find specific fault with them, and I certainly was left with the feeling that Dennett is more right then wrong in his conclusions. The greatest weakness of this book, like Dawkins' Selfish Gene, is that it is perhaps _too_ compelling, it seems to lead us beyond science and into a secular religion of sorts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dennett's writing style is very user friendly
The density of the subject matter makes this slow reading as all good philosophy often is. Daniel Dennett's writing style goes a long way toward making this accessible. He relies on very good story telling, excellent metaphors, and avoids a lot of the dense jargon heavy prose often found in other philosopy works. The condensed introductions and summaries at the beginning and end of each chapter make it easy to review material again and again, without having to do complete rereadings.

Dennett creates one of the most conceptually vivid pictures of the evolutionary scheme, and demonstrates how evolutionary algorithms occur even outside the field of biology. Intelligent detractors of evolution will find themselves accusing Dennett of turning evolution into a theory of everything. Assuming of course their minds do not become dissolved within this universal acid. I don't think Dennett makes it a theory of everything, but it just might become a theory that has at least something to say about most important things. Proponents of evolution will discover new ways of thinking about evolution. Even career biologists will find conceptual doors that an intelligent scientifically oriented philosopher like Dennett can best point to. Nobody can truly digest this book without having their thinking altered in some significant ways.

Dennett's user-friendly style makes philosophy exciting even for the more philosophobic readers. No one interested in the various debates about evolution, regardless of their personal position, should miss this book. It stands to eventually change the entire arena for dialogue on this subject.

2-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy, not Science
As a Darwinist and a reader of Dawkins and Gould, I read this book primarily to familiarize myself with the scientific refutation of other prominent Darwinists, specifically Gould. I say "scientific," because on the upper left corner of the back cover of the paperback, it is categorized as "Science," so I thought I was reading a science book.

I started reading the book past the half-way point, in the area of content that most interested me, and I discovered a couple of things.

First, there are metaphoric terms used throughout this book, introduced in earlier chapters, which make the book difficult to fully comprehend when opening it up to read at an arbitrary later chapter, if you aren't already familiar with the metaphors (such as "skyhook" and "crane").

Second, apparently, among other subjects, this is also a book on architecture. Specifically, on arcane aspects of the architecture of domes and their supporting structures. Several pages were dedicated to this subject, including detailed pictures and diagrams. Apparently this proved that Gould is wrong, which made absolutely no sense to me, so I bit the bullet and started back at page 1.

I enjoyed the first three or so chapters of this book. A good introduction to the history of thought which immediately pre-dated Darwin, which put into context how truly revolutionary His ideas were at the time.

I couldn't get through the final chapters, something about the evolution of morals. A worthy subject, I'm sure, it's just not the subject for which I picked up this book. Again, I thought I was reading a science book.

Ultimately, I came away thinking, "Why did Dennett write this book?" More specifically, why did a non-scientist write a book purportedly about Science? Well, Dennett answers that for me, sort of. In an anecdote he tells about attending a conference of Thinkers and Scientists in the Northeasten US, and how, during a Q&A type session with attendees, the responses given clearly showed that many of these educated people had a very poor understanding of Darwin's Ideas. It was this experience, he claims, which helped further to motivate him to write this book, ostensibly to set the record straight.

If Dennett had written a book which simply synthesized and explained the current state of Darwinist thinking, I would have been more receptive. Instead, I read a book by a Philosopher who is pretending to be a Scientist, espousing his own scientific ideas, and I don't think he was able to pull that off credibly.

1-0 out of 5 stars Shallow
I am for evolution, but I find Dennett's arguments very weak. It is books like this that sustain creationists.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dennett's Stupid Idea
If creationists wanted a book that would make evolution look absurd, they could do no better than Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Allies of science and reason are done no favor by the likes of Dennett (who, by the way, has no formal scientific qualifications) and his crudely reductionist screeds. ... Read more


66. Research Proposals: A Guide to Success, Third Edition
list price: $36.95
our price: $36.95
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Asin: 0125247338
Catlog: Book (2002-06)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 125031
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Book Description

This third edition of the classic "how-to" guide incorporates recent changes in policies and procedures of the NIH, with particular emphasis on the role of the Internet in the research proposal process. Completely revised and updated, it reveals the secrets of success used by seasoned investigators, and directs the reader through the maze of NIH bureaucracies. In addition to providing a detailed overview of the entire review process, the book also includes hundreds of tips on how to enhance proposals, excerpts from real proposals, and extensive Internet references. This book is essential to all scientists involved in the grant writing process.

Key Features:
* Considers the reviewer's perspective
* Detailed presentation of the review process
* All sections of the R01 proposal are reviewed
* Hundreds of tips to enhance proposals
* Includes the many recent changes in NIH policies
* Includes many excerpts from real proposals
* Provides extensive Internet references

Benefits:
* Increased competitiveness
* Better priority scores
* Less chance of triage
* Increased award rates
* Uses the system to advantage
* Reveals strategies used by the "old pros"
... Read more


67. An Introduction to the History of Mathematics (Saunders Series)
by Howard Eves
list price: $120.95
our price: $120.95
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Asin: 0030295580
Catlog: Book (1990-01-02)
Publisher: Brooks Cole
Sales Rank: 225250
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This classic best-seller by a well-known author introduces mathematics history to math and math education majors. Suggested essay topics and problem studies challenge students. CULTURAL CONNECTIONS sections explain the time and culture in which mathematics developed and evolved. Portraits of mathematicians and material on women in mathematics are of special interest. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
I agree with the person who said this book is very informative & it is also easy to read. I learned lots from doing the problems too, like for example, a simple algorithm on how to construct magic squares of odd size. This book was good for the course I did because there's only so much you can do in a course; Morris Kline's "Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times" is twice as long as this one so it goes into much more detail, but too much for a 1-term course. This book by Eves is a good INTRO to the history of math, I liked it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
The careful documentation of the discoveries and history of mathematics is of overwhelming importance, especially in modern times where the advances are taking place so rapidly that the historical roots of some branches of mathematics seem to be getting lost. It would be a tragedy if the history of these important developments were not put into print so that later generations of mathematicians and students could have an understanding of how these came about. Thanks to the information age, the accessibility of mathematical documents has dramatically increased, but these documents usually do not include overviews of how the ideas took root and then flourished as independent research disciplines.

This book gives a general overview of mathematical developments up until the middle of the twentieth century. It is a fascinating story, and readers will realize to what extent mathematical ideas deemed complex by even modern standards were known by the ancients. Indeed, it is very surprising to learn that in 2000 BC the Babylonians were solving quadratic equations and even some cubic and quartic equations. The Babylonians did not produce an Evariste Galois, that took centuries more time, but they were dealing with mathematical constructions that were interesting to compare with modern methods.

One very interesting feature of this book is that it is meant to be used as a textbook, and not just in a course in the history of mathematics. The author has included "problem studies" and "essay topics" at the end of each chapter that challenge the reader to solve problems pertinent to the historical topics of each chapter. The inclusion of these problems will allow the student to gain insight on the difficulty in solving problems with the constraint of using concepts that were unique to a definite period in mathematical history.

The book also includes discussions of the history of non-Western contributions to mathematics. The work of the Hindus, the Chinese, and Arabs is included. The contributions of the Arabs are particularly important for later developments in the West, as it was they who revived Greek philosophy and mathematics and consequently changed dramatically the role of mathematics in Europe.

The reading of this book will give a greater appreciation of the developments in mathematics as they are done today. Mathematical research now is done by both human and machine, and no doubt this century, and others beyond it, will result in brilliant developments. Mathematics pervades every human activity in the modern world and every piece of technology. When books like this one are written in the future, readers who peruse them and take note of the incredible advancements made in mathematics in the centuries that preceed them, no doubt their predominant emotion will be astonishment.

1-0 out of 5 stars When used as a self-study text ...
When used as a self-study text, I found the book to be lacking a sufficient quantity of example problems solved in adequate detail to be truly helpful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
This book is quite informative and interesting to read. If you love any math at all, you should definitally read it. ... Read more


68. Ideas & Opinions
by ALBERT EINSTEIN
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
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Asin: 0517003937
Catlog: Book (1988-12-12)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 4460
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

IDEAS AND OPINIONS contains essays by eminent scientist Albert Einstein on subjects ranging from atomic energy, relativity, and religion to human rights, government, and economics. Previously published articles, speeches, and letters are gathered here to create a fascinating collection of meditations by one of the world's greatest minds. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Scientific Perspective
Ideas and Opinions expresses a wide range of Einstein's thoughts throughout his life. The subject matter includes comments on freedom, politics, pacifism, education, religion, Germany, friends, and scientific issues. Whereas Einstein had a specific goal in writing each of these addresses, speeches and articles, the editor of this collection by combining Einstein's writings in this manner paints a picture of the man and his time. The most profound impact upon the reader is not the individual message of each writing, but rather how the whole body of work illuminates the dedication and fierce determination of one scientist to make himself a "harmonious personality" (64). One of the features of this collection is that it attempts to present each article in a straightforward manner. Each article is titled by what it attempts to say, for example one article is called "My First Impressions of the U.S.A." (3). This accurately reflects what Einstein says in this article, but so much more than what this title describes is also reflected in the essay. Einstein's political attitudes are best expressed not in his many essays on politics, government and pacifism, but instead in his First Impressions of America. One of his many observations is that "nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced" (6). Understanding this aspect is of immeasurable value when encountering Einstein's essay where he prescribes a program of action against atomic weapons. The greatest fault of this compilation is that it tends to be repetitive. However, this often helps to drive home the point and complete the overall picture of this man and his time. This text should be read by all persons everywhere. No other collection could possibly contain a better view of America, international relations, scientific issues and advances, religion, and humanity. For use in Honors Science, only certain readings would enhance the goal of the course, but including them would be invaluable not only for scientific perspective, but for an enriched experience of life itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius Philosophy Stands the Test of Time
This is a rare treasure of a book that will bring you wonderful insights into one of the greatest minds of the last century. Albert Einstein covers a great deal of topics including love, marriage, religion, God, laws and shares insights whose truth genuinely stands the test of time. This book is a brilliant account of his many lectures, letters, and thoughts throughout his own personal life, as well as his role in society. His suggestions, ideas and opinions serve humanity well, and hopefully many more people will take in the brilliance he so graciously gave us. Highly recommended for its outstanding literary and humanitarian contribution. Deserves 10 Stars.
Barbara Rose, author of 'Individual Power' and 'If God Was Like Man'

5-0 out of 5 stars Penetrates to the heart and soul of an amazing intellect
"Ideas and Opinions" reveals much about the thought processes, culture, and observations that shaped the character of Albert Einstein. In a remarkable series of insightful short prose selections, the reader learns a great deal about Einstein's views on morality and ethics; religion, particularly Judaism; government; the arts, literature, and higher education; philosophy; and government. His personal letters to and observations about other key persons of his time including Shaw, Freud, Gandhi, and Lorentz illustrate what a fully integrated individual Einstein truly was, a view that may counter some of the extreme depictions that render him a genius incapable of focusing beyond his science.

Having some many thoughts from this astounding intellect pulled into one volume makes this book a worthwhile addition to the stack of rainy day books. It's a book to be consumed in fits and starts, with a cup of coffee on the screened porch in the rain, a treat for inquiring minds.

The prose, perhaps a tad stilted by modern standards, is lucid. And seeing Einstein turn his attention on the topic everyone wrangles with forges a new link to him and his work. As he stated, " The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking."

5-0 out of 5 stars and you thought he was all physics...
It's undisputed that he was a great man. No scandals are ever going to surface, and say Einstein was really a wife-beater or something stupid that seems to happen in the tabloids to just about everybody famous. :)
Anyway, this book is one good way to get to know him. I think this book works because it takes all sorts of scraps of things he wrote over the course of his life, and not necessarily intending for them to be published in this manner. You can see a very consistent man, with firm principles, and almost sorry that he's all the world had for a hero, even at the same time that he knew it was a role he would have to play. Once he was in the role, he made a point of clearly stating his principles, in the hope that they would effect change. You will see this all, and you will see a kind of melancholy that he must have felt. I think all intelligent people are haunted by the meaning of existence, and he is archetypal for this. At the same time, he seemed to enjoy his life. I wish there were a book that could go deeper, and really tell us what he was like to live with, but those close to him probably respected him too much to want to unveil his private life. I suppose I shall have to respect that as well.
I hate being typical and doing the same thing as everybody, so I have to say, I was surprised that this man who is so respected by the world earned my respect as well. I think he has a message to tell us, and the compilation is well worth reading.
I do feel obligated to inform you of any shortcomings: Albert Einstein has a rather complex writing style, and I don't believe in writing like that. Another issue is that there is much repetition. This might bother you, but realize that this book was never meant to be a book. If he repeats himself, it's simply because he said very similar things to two different audiences, and the editors got ahold of both pieces.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Reviewer: bugesh from New York United States
Einstein wasn't just a scientist, but a general genious and philosopher. This book offers wonderful insight into one of the greatest minds of the century, if not all time.
the book is a compilation of letters, essays and writings on all sorts of topics. He speaks about his thoughts on America, the world, life, you name it.

It interested me that Einstein was an anti-prohibitionist; stating that "any law that cannot be enforced only serves to undermine the authority of the government. it is no secret that this is closely linked to the sharp rise in crime in this country." This could easily be applied to the modern-day drub problem and supports the decriminalization movement.

The book is a great companion for anyone who is a fan of Einstein or who considers themselves enlightened (or in need of enlightenment). A big 5 stars!! ... Read more


69. The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How to Build an Atomic Bomb
by Robert Serber, Richard Rhodes
list price: $34.95
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Asin: 0520075765
Catlog: Book (1992-03-01)
Publisher: University of California Press
Sales Rank: 113002
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In April 1943, a young physicist named Robert Serber stood up before a small group of fellow scientists in a laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and, as one attendee later recalled, began to speak in "a hazy, uncertain voice" about the project on which they would all be working. "The object," he said, "is to produce a practical military weapon in the form of a bomb in which the energy is released by a fast neutron chain reaction in one or more of the materials known to show nuclear fission." That mechanism, of course, was the atomic bomb, which a little more than two years later would be used against Japan.

In the following weeks, Serber touched on many themes, racing to an array of chalkboards to scribble complex formulas and equations. Among other things, he addressed how big a bomb would need to be in order to achieve critical mass--between 13.5 centimeters and 9 centimeters, he calculated--and what the probability of premature detonation might be. (It was, he concluded, always a danger.) At the end of the series, his lecture notes, classified as top secret, were gathered and printed for distribution to later cadres of scientists who came to work at Los Alamos. Years after the war they were declassified, and Serber, who died in May of 1997, took the opportunity to reflect on his work and the strange culture of the laboratory, adding postscripts and other commentary reproduced in the present edition.

Serber's book is an important document in the history of science, and remains one of the most accessible introductions to nuclear physics ever written. (On that note, those who worry that it is all too easy to find bomb-building instructions in the library or on the Web should rest assured: these lectures were tough for the greatest theoretical physicists of the time to follow.) It all makes for provocative reading. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book on the physics of the bomb
This is a truly exciting book for people with the desire to understand bomb physics. This book consists out of the original lecture notes from a series of seminars given in 1943 to the bomb scientists at the start of the Manhattan Project. These lecture notes are clearly annotated so that a layman can understand the bomb. Although the book discusses mainly the knowledge of 1943, the clear annotations of the author comments also on the advances since 1943.

In this book you will learn to calculate the energy of an atomic bomb after already 5 pages using only one simple physical law (no, not Einstein!). When you are halfway in the book, you will understand the calculations of the critical mass.

However to fully appreciate the book, you need to have a basic understanding of mathematics and physics. (it would be nice if you know what a differential equation is.)

The book also contains several funny anekdotes which make it a truly astonishing reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Excellent book, it takes a bit to stick with it, but the modern day excerpts/perspectives threaded into the book give it a good historical perspective. This is a good combo to go together with Richard Rhodes "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and "Dark Sun".

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 STARS! Essential reading
- for anyone seriously interested in our nuclear heritage, weaponeering, or the NWEPS program. Gives INCREDIBLE insight as to the minds and directions these young physicists were going.

This book is a must-read. Simple, concise, straightforward technically. You gotta read it, 'nuff said.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This is an incredible book. This is originally a compilation of Robert Serber's notes he gave to incoming scientists at Los Alamos in the 1940s, explaining to them the purpose of the Manhattan Project and the expected means by which they would achieve their goal. This particular copy, courtesy of the University of California Press, contains not only an introduction by Mr. Richard Rhodes (author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb - strongly recommended), but notes throughout the Primer itself by Robert Serber. It is fascinating to read comments on a document by the man who wrote it many years afterward. Be warned: This is NOT a how-to book, and does require some basic knowledge of calculus and physics. It is, however, unbelievably interesting, and worth the cost to add it to your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading--if you can handle the math.
If you want to understand the bomb, there's no substitue for this book. I have a degree in physics with a decade of dust on it and found this presentation to be just within my understanding. If you don't know calculus and freshman physics, you're probably not going to understand it very well. If you do, it's fascinating. ... Read more


70. Institutional Review Board: Management and Function
by Robert J. Amdur, Elizabeth A. Bankert
list price: $133.95
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Asin: 0763716863
Catlog: Book (2002-01-15)
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett Publishers
Sales Rank: 486454
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Book Description

Biomedical and social science research involving the use of human subjects presents society with a wide range of ethical questions. At the heart of the current system for protecting human research subjects is the Institutional Review Board (IRB).This book is designed as an instructional manual that gives the IRB members and administrators the information they need to run an efficient and effective system of protecting human research subjects, in compliance with federal research regulations. ... Read more


71. March Of Unreason: Science, Democracy, And The New Fundamentalism
by Dick Taverne
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
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Asin: 0192804855
Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 20043
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Book Description

In The March of Unreason, Dick Taverne expresses his concern that irrationality is on the rise in Western society, and argues that public opinion is increasingly dominated by unreflecting prejudice and an unwillingness to engage with factual evidence. Discussing topics such as genetically modified crops and foods, organic farming, the MMR vaccine, environmentalism, the precautionary principle, and the new anti-capitalist and anti-globalization movements, he argues that the rejection of the evidence-based approach nurtures a culture of suspicion, distrust, and cynicism, and leads to dogmatic assertion and intolerance.Science, with all the benefits it brings, is an essential part of a civilized and democratic society: it offers the most hopeful future for humankind. ... Read more


72. Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics
by William Dunham
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 014014739X
Catlog: Book (1991-08-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 6111
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In Journey through Genius, author William Dunham strikes an extraordinary balance between the historical and technical. He devotes each chapter to a principal result of mathematics, such as the solution of the cubic series and the divergence of the harmonic series. Not only does this book tell the stories of the people behind the math, but it also includes discussions and rigorous proofs of the relevant mathematical results. ... Read more

Reviews (39)

4-0 out of 5 stars An informative an entertaining look at the history of Math.
I studied mathematics in university but never at any great level. I eventually went to law school and I now practice law. I give you this background so that you can appreciate what I know (and don't know about math). When I feel like reading about mathematics I look for a book that can give me a general idea of the math, but that does not get technical (and therfore boring). I also the lives of mathematicians intereting.

Dunham's book fits the bill for excellent reading in mathematics. It has just enough meat to it so that I can get insights into various mathematical theories. However he never gets so technical that I fall asleep reading the material.

The best parts of the book are the discussions of the various mathematician's and the importance of the mathematical in question. Both form the bulk of the book and are witty and informative. After reading this book, you get the impression that the history of mathematics is filled with a collection of absentminded and colourful men. These parts of the book can be read and enjoyed with absolutely no understanding of the mathematics involved. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get some basic knowledge of mathematics and its history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Quite a Journey
I don't know too many math authors who have consistently written "five-star" books. I had the pleasure of having Dr. Dunham at Muhlenberg (not Muhlendorf!) College for a class on Landmarks of Modern Mathematics. With Dunham's sharp lectures, I hardly needed the book, but with his brilliant book, I hardly needed the lectures. The key, however, is that I wanted both, and couldn't get enough of either. Graduation and reaching the back cover does that...

Others have already described what's in the book, but what I must stress is that everything - every single thing - in the book is written in a clear and captivating fashion. You feel like you're sitting right there with the mathematcian under review, solving the problems for the first time with their hints. You wonder if Dunham has a time machine hidden somewhere. What this book adds to the experience is that you get a hint not just about the mathemacians' genius, but also about the personalities of the mathematicians. For example, Cardano is probably one of the humorously psychotic mathematcians that lived.

This book is good for anybody who has had half of a high school education all the way up to people who think in numbers. This isn't a "skim over the math" book like those of many of Dunham's contemporaries - and you wouldn't want to do that anyway. Buy it for yourself and then give it to a budding math student - or heck, buy two!

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning !
Absolutely one of the most wonderful books i've ever read !

In a chronological way, through each chapter, the book covers the background and history of the current chapter's genius, his great theorem and other achievements, including detailed proofs.

William Dunham writing style is perfect :)
Amazon's service is really good also, I live in Israel and I recieved the book in less than one week since ordered...

5-0 out of 5 stars It drove me crazy
This book talks some of the most intriguing of classical math problems, and I can not tell you enough about how much of a pleasure it is to read.

It forces us to put some thought over some of the mathematical results that we take for granted today, such as pythagorean theorum, the infinitude of the prime numbers, etc. I read it in just 2 sittings, and have read it over once again after that.

If you have any inclination towards mathematics and its beauty, you will be a different person after you have read through this highly motivating and pleasurable read.

The only thing I wished the book had more was the number of problems it covered :) I seriously wish that William Dunham sets out to write many more such books covering many many more such mathematical problems in his beautiful style! Wish you all the best, William!

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid Math
Dunham selects several mathematical theorems and discusses their meaning and their proof. The book is arranged chronologically beginning with Hippocrates (Quadrature of the Lune) and follows with Euclid, Archimedes through Newton, Euler up to modern scientists. If the subject was ONLY mathematics he would have succeeded. But I expected more of a historical perspective and review that the merely cursory one presented here. Still, the book was arranged well with many graphs, formulae, pictures and charts. ... Read more


73. Experiments in Modern Physics
by Adrian C. Melissinos, Jim Napolitano
list price: $80.00
our price: $80.00
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Asin: 0124898513
Catlog: Book (2003-02)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 340383
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A revision of the leading text on experimental physics.The feature of this book that has made it one of the most loved texts on the subject is that it goes far beyond a mere description of key experiments in physics.The author successfully provides the reader with an understanding and appreciation of the 'physics' behind the experiments.The second edition will be an extensive revision introducing many new devices, including the use of computers and software programs, that have come into use since the publication of the first edition.In addition the important areas of condensed matter physics and optical physics will be added, including two entirely new chapters on lasers and optics.

ú Modern analysis and acquisition techniques
ú Integration with matlab for data analysis and display
ú New experiments include fundamentals of lasers
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent experimental reference!!!
I purchased this book with hopes of gaining some insight into the theoretical aspects of the modern physics experiments I was working on in a junior laboratory. I must say that this book has been invaluable. The author masterfully details the most fundamental experiments in modern physics, making the material accessible to beginning undergrad students, yet still theoretically rich enough for advanced experimental practice.

Most modern physics experiments can more than likely be referenced somewhere in this book, which serves as a lab manual complete with data samples and example analysis. For myself, the analysis techniques employed in the experiments contained within this book were the most helpful. Any physics student with experience in an advanced lab would agree that data and error analysis are the most critical part of any lab, making this book ideal as a reference.

I give this book five stars, but I must admit only one disappointment with its binding. I read a review, prior to buying this text, stating that the hardcover binding is somewhat prone to wearing out quickly, and indeed I think I have seen the beginning of this demise. However, I have made extensive use of the book, which has undoubtedly contributed to this problem.

Otherwise, I have gotten every cent's worth out of this book! ... Read more


74. The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration
list price: $150.00
our price: $136.50
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Asin: 0471360112
Catlog: Book (2003-05-23)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 298282
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration, Second Edition
Sponsored by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and written by top illustrators, scientists, and industry experts, The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration, Second Edition is an indispensable reference guide for anyone who produces, assigns, or simply appreciates scientific illustration.
Offering broad coverage and more than 620 outstanding illustrations, this new edition offers up-to-date coverage on all aspects of this specialized field, from illustrating molecules and 3D modeling to important material and advice on copyright and contractual concerns, as well as establishing a freelance business.
With step-by-step instructions, in-depth coverage of illustrative techniques and related tools, and helpful advice on the day-to-day business of scientific illustrating, it is easy to see why scientific illustrators refer to this book as their "bible."
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive reference for scientific illustration
Since its first edition this book has been by far the best single resource available for anyone with a serious interest in scientific, medical, biological, nature, botanical, or wildlife illustration.

Don't be daunted by the price - this book is worth far more than the next 10 competing books combined. I've been a professional medical and scientific illustrator for 35 years, and I own hundreds of books on the subject, but I think this single volume should be the foundation of any reference library on visual communication in the biomedical sciences.

5-0 out of 5 stars There is no greater guide to Scientific Illustration . . .
ELaine Hodges' "The Guild Handbook to Scientific Illustration" is truly a landmark as a reference and the finest on my shelf -- and I cannot count the times I've sought it since 1989 out either to clarify a client's request or as a refresher for some obscure technique (carbon dust, for example) . . .

Even though the book is quite expensive even by reference standards (twice its price of 1989), I would purchase it again without hesitation. Truly, there is no question of hand technique that is left unanswered . . .

If that were not enough, the volume weighs over two kilos and could also prove a formidable weapon . . .

5-0 out of 5 stars The book is the final word in scientific illustration
Over and over in my work I found myself referring back to this encyclopedic manual. A must for all those in the field of scientific illustration, and a huge help for graphic artists and illustrators in general.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most authoritative single book in the World in the subject!
The most extensive coverage of media and subject matter for use in creating science art. For use by practicing illustrators. ... Read more


75. The Do's: Osteopathic Medicine in America
by Norman Gevitz
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
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Asin: 0801878349
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Sales Rank: 228602
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Book Description

Overcoming suspicion, ridicule, and outright opposition from the American Medical Association, the osteopathic medical profession today serves the health needs of more than thirty million Americans. The DOs chronicles the development of this controversial medical movement from the nineteenth century to the present. Historian Norman Gevitz describes the philosophy and practice of osteopathy, as well as its impact on medical care. From the theories underlying the use of spinal manipulation developed by osteopathy's founder, Andrew Taylor Still, Gevitz traces the movement's early success, despite attacks from the orthodox medical community, and details the internal struggles to broaden osteopathy's scope to include the full range of pharmaceuticals and surgery. He also recounts the efforts of osteopathic colleges to achieve parity with institutions granting M.D. degrees and looks at the continuing effort by osteopathic physicians and surgeons to achieve greater recognition and visibility.

In print continuously since 1982, The DOs has now been thoroughly updated and expanded to include two new chapters addressing recent and current challenges and to bring the history of the profession up to the beginning of the new millennium. ... Read more


76. The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs)
by Keith Devlin
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
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Asin: 1560256729
Catlog: Book (2005-03-10)
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press
Sales Rank: 5270
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Book Description

There are two kinds of math: the hard kind and the easy kind. The easy kind, practiced by ants, shrimp, Welsh corgis—and us—is innate.

What innate calculating skills do we humans have? Leaving aside built-in mathematics, such as the visual system, ordinary people do just fine when faced with mathematical tasks in the course of the day. Yet when they are confronted with the same tasks presented as "math," their accuracy often drops.

But if we have innate mathematical ability, why do we have to teach math and why do most of us find it so hard to learn? Are there tricks or strategies that the ordinary person can do to improve mathematical ability? Can we improve our math skills by learning from dogs, cats, and other creatures that "do math"? The answer to each of these questions is a qualified yes. All these examples of animal math suggest that if we want to do better in the formal kind of math, we should see how it arises from natural mathematics.

From NPR’s "Math Guy"—The Math Instinct will provide even the most number-phobic among us with confidence in our own mathematical abilities. ... Read more


77. The U Boat Commanders Handbook
by The High Command of the German Navy, High Command of the German Army, Kriegsmarine, Wehrmacht
list price: $8.95
our price: $8.95
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Asin: 0939631210
Catlog: Book (1989-10-01)
Publisher: Thomas Publications (PA)
Sales Rank: 51318
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars A 'must have' u-boat historical document.
For anyone seriously interested in WWII German U-Boats this is a must have book. Perhaps a little dry and technical to the light reader, it contains a wealth of information about the capabilities and tactics employed by German U-Boats from the best possible source - the BDU itself. The scholar will make many connections after a thorough study of this work, and it is well worth the cost for the layman as well. I also recommend that the serious student visit uboat.net for the single best source of information to complement the reading of this book that I have found.

4-0 out of 5 stars A U-Boat P.O.W. Interrogator's View
This book is for u-boat nuts and submariners. It is a "direct wartime translation by the U.S. Navy" from the 1943 SECRET edition issued to U-Boat commander by the Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine. Oddly, it is dedicated to Kapitaenleutnant Werner Henke, bearer of the Knight's Cross to The Iron Cross With Oak Leaves.He was the C.O. of U 515. He was killed while attempting to escape from the interrogation center at Fort Hunt and is buried at Fort Meade. There are photos of the inside of U-505, now up on blocks near the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.[I well remember when a fellow naval officer whispered to me, outside a P.O.W. cage near Brest, France , "they got the 505."] It was a great maritime triumph.
The book is paragraph after paragraph of such instructions as "Carrying Out the Night Surface Attack", and "How To Deal With Convoys." The photographs which have been added to the edition at hand (1989) add significantly to what could be an interesting but pretty dry instruction, manual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Handy for SH2 players and Kriegsmarine buffs
If you are planning to play the computer game Silent Hunter 2 (whenever it finally comes out...), you will find this little book most helpful in hunting convoys of English merchant ships... It gives a brief shakedown on the tactics used by U-Boat Captains during the Battle of the Atlantic.

-Tom

5-0 out of 5 stars Most interesting!
This is reported to be an exact english translation of the Handbook carried by U-Boat commanders. It is very interesting to see what the German Navy had learned during the war, as the book was updated several times during the war, and what the experienced u-boat commanders recommended as procedures for attack and defense to all new u-boat commanders.

I highly recommend it as background reading for those interested in all aspects of the U-boat war during WWII. Cant beat the price! ... Read more


78. Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
by Michael Shermer
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0805070893
Catlog: Book (2002-09-01)
Publisher: Owl Books
Sales Rank: 7819
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Revised and Expanded Edition.

In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science.

Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.
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Reviews (97)

4-0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
As other reviewers have mentioned, the main flaw in this book is that Shermer doesn't really tackle the question posed in the title. He spends most of the book debunking nonscientific beliefs, but only one chapter is devoted to the actual question of why people believe "weird things" without proof. Besides that, he includes to many different areas of research, and thus doesn't have time to focus thoroughly one any of them.

Why, then, do I give this book four stars? It is well written and very convincing, and could serve as a good introduction to skeptical thought. As the tide of pseudoscience rises and people attempt to dismiss rational and reasonable thought, we need good thinkers like Shermer to defend science as what it really is - the attempt by humans to understand the world around us. Finally, he connects with the audience by providing many humorous annecdotes about his own experience with pseudoscientific liars and examples of scientific thinking gone astray (very, very astray.)

The final section of the book, and the best one, covers the phenomenon of Holocaust denial. This is the most interesting section because it does delve into the psychology of people who want to rewrite history, even though they know that the things they are saying aren't true. Shermer also points out the urgency of fighting this movement with solid historical fact.

The middle section of the book covers the Creationism vs. Evolution debate. Unfortunately, it is too short to present this topic in great detail. Contrary to what the review below this one claims, Shermer doesn't insist that Evolution is true because Creationism is false. However, his purpose in this section is to show how and why Creationists intentionally misrepresent scientific fact, so that is the main focus of these chapters.

The opening section is the least useful. It covers a variety of topics, including UFOs, near-death experiences, and Ayn Rand's cult. However, the chapters are quite short, so they can't provide in depth analysis of such phenomenon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good breakdown of the dynamics of "weird things."
I'll concede to comments of some earlier reviewers: the book had a few weaknesses. I give it 5 stars, however, as it's a great analysis of...just what the title states.

Contrary to what some other reviewers thought, I liked the way the book was set up. It started with the priciples of science, of skepticism, etc., then went into countless examples of its opposite. I liked the chapter "How Thinking Goes Wrong," as it offers an examination of HOW we think we're thinking when we're not, and what we may do about that. It's not a dogma, just an honest examination of where are reasoning takes us, and how.

Without using Sagan's oft-quoted maxim," Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," Shermer says essentially the same thing. And he gives scores of examples. Two that come to mind right off are the entertaining claims of the Afro-centrists, and those who perpetuate belief in the Near Death Experience (NDE). Sure Shermer seems adamant and inflexible. But, really, people claiming their beliefs in these things cannot expect us to believe them except in faith. In the former, there are easily confirmable facts which refute the claims of the Afro-centrists. As to the latter, there ARE other, simpler explanations which are almost inevitably the right ones.

Oh, yes. And, sure there are other takes on history. But they're NOT all equally valid!

And I liked the piece on Ayn Rand, which some others criticized. It's a cult so riddled with self-contradiction, and I think it's important we realize that lest we get trapped by Rand's alleged eloquence. The loyalty of her disciples to Rand and her clique is mind-boggling, and it's important we recognize WHY...and why we should challenge that degree of allegiance to anything!

As to the book's weaknesses, at the expense of endorsing the jargon I frequently criticize, I wish Shermer had used some more of the definitions of the logical fallacies in the chapter I mentioned above. He covered some, and some are in Latin. But I think it's important to know not only what they are, but how other people refer to the fallacies. We can retort to them intelligently then, when we know what they're called.

Then, as others have said, there was too much of the book dedicated to the holocaust denial. However, that WAS a major historical event, and there ARE those who, despite mountains of evidence, deny it. So it's a case in point as to erroneous thinking, contrived evidence, etc. So, while I wish that portion of the book hadn't been so long, I will not penalize Dr. Shermer a star or two for it.

Overall I think it's an important book, one that should be used in college freshman courses, assuming colleges wish to foster critical thinking. This, despite its weaknesses.

And I WILL read other Shermer books. He offers an educated--and rational--perspective sadly lacking in too much of today's discourse.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Skeptic, Good Debunker
The overall grade for this book is good, I recommend it, but it could definitely be much better. Shermer is one super skeptic fellow, and one that respects most of the people whose claims he tries to debunk. Through the book he can't deny his psychology background, since he continually makes reference to different psychological concepts (and their application to scientists like Tippler, or to holocaust deniers), this is not bad, but the truth is I wasn't expecting a pseudo-psychoanalisis on his opponents. The book is really entertaining, and has a lot of interesting anecdotes and experiences as well as good bibliographic investigation to support every case. Once again, the book is entertaining and enlightening at times, I surely recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Critical thinking or alien propaganda?
A 1990 Gallup poll revealed that 52% of adult Americans believe in astrology, 42% believe in extrasensory perception, 22% believe aliens have visted the Earth, 41% believe that dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth simultaneously, 42% believe in communication with the dead, 35% believe in ghosts, and 67% have had a psychic experience (p. 26). Still others believe that Paul McCartney died and was replaced by a look-alike, that giant alligators inhabit the sewers of New York, that George Washington had wooden teeth, and that the Air Force kept the bodies of aliens in a secret warehouse following a New Mexico flying saucer crash. Michael Shermer wonders why these people believe such things.

Shermer became a born-again skeptic on August 6, 1983, while bicycling up Loveland Pass, Colorado, following an intense training program of megavitamins, colonics, iridology, Rolfing, and other alternative, New Age therapies (p. 15). For those unfamiliar with his work, Shermer is the editor in chief of Skeptic magazine, a frequent contributor to Scientific American, and author of HOW WE BELIEVE and THE SCIENCE OF GOOD AND EVIL. In his first book, WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS, he takes on subjects including Holocaust denial, psychics, creationism, alien abductions, Satanism, Afrocentrism, near-death experiences, recovered memories, Ayn Rand, and astrology. The result will either be interesting and entertaining for readers who share Shermer's love for critical thinking, or antagonizing for readers who instead identify with creationists, fundamentalists, New Age gurus or paranormal preachers.

Most of the material included here was originally published in Skeptic magazine, and the 2002 revised edition of Shermer's book includes a new Introduction as well as an additional chapter on why smart people believe weird things. Shermer not only writes from personal experience, inasmuch as he previously believed in fundamentalist Christianity, alien encounters, Ayn Rand's philosophy, and megavitamin therapy, but he also examines his subject matter using the tools of scientific reasoning. "Most believers in miracles, monsters, and mysteries are not hoaxers, flimflam artists, or lunatics," he observes; "most are normal people whose normal thinking has gone wrong in some way" (p. 45). People fall into "fuzzy" thinking for reasons of consolation, immediate gratification, simplicity, moral meaning, and wishful thinking. In Chapter Three, "How Thinking Goes Wrong," he carefully examines the kinds of logical fallacies that allow people to believe weird (scientifically unsubstantiated) "nonsense," and concludes that when it comes to recognizing other people's fallacious reasoning, Spinoza said it best: "I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them" (p 61).

G. Merritt

4-0 out of 5 stars good primer on critical thinking
In the public library where I live I found four shelves of floor to ceiling books on astrology, out-of-body experiences, the emotional lives of plants, alien abductions, ESP, Atlantis, and similar nonsense. The same library had only three books on skepticism and critical thinking: Sagan's Demon-Haunted World, this book, and Wendy Kaminer's Sleeping with Extraterrestrials. (That ratio of nonsense to sense is probably a pretty good picture of the mind of the American public. We live in a world where cable networks present haunted houses -- there is not a single instance where it has ever checked out in the real world when actually investigated -- as serious nonfiction.) They each had a somewhat different emphasis, but they all deal with the problem in this society that few people understand what evidence is or what to do with it if you manage to acquire some. Ms Kaminer was better on the social dynamics of New Age folks, and Dr. Sagan was a better writer, but this is a solid introduction to developing mental antibodies to the crap constantly being fed us. Worth handing to a relative paying psychics for advice. ... Read more


79. The Geneticist Who Played Hoops with My DNA : . . . And Other Masterminds from the Frontiers of Biotech
by David E. Duncan
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060537388
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: William Morrow
Sales Rank: 156898
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Book Description

Combining myth, biography,
and wit -- a highly original
depiction of cutting-edge
science -- told through the
scientists who are rewriting
life on earth

While the future of human existence is literally being forged by today's genetic scientists and biotechnology leaders, the media, policymakers, ethicists, and fellow scientists alike have not been adequately communicating the tremendous potential that is contained in these individuals' work. With the public only vaguely aware of what is really happening, a new coterie of geniuses, tinkerers, tycoons, and genetic soothsayers are -- for better or worse -- about to alter life on earth forever.

Now award-winning journalist David Ewing Duncan has written an insightful narrative about science and personality, delving into stem cell research, cloning, bioengineering, extending life span, and genetics by telling the stories of the characters at the fulcrum of the science. Calling to mind age-old stories and myths -- Prometheus, Faustus, Eve, and Frankenstein -- Duncan asks the question: Can we trust these scientists?

Duncan has spent the last three years reporting on and studying these masterminds, from the co-solver of the DNA structure James Watson to a man who is creating synthetic life, Craig Venter. The Geneticist Who Played Hoops with My DNA tells their stories, revealing their quirky, fascinating, and sometimes vaguely unsettling personas as a way to understand their science and the implications of their work.

... Read more

80. Fermat's Enigma : The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
by SIMON SINGH
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385493622
Catlog: Book (1998-09-08)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 7860
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When Andrew Wiles of Princeton University announced a solution of Fermat's last theorem in 1993, it electrified the world of mathematics. After a flaw was discovered in the proof, Wiles had to work for another year--he had already labored in solitude for seven years--to establish that he had solved the 350-year-old problem. Simon Singh's book is a lively, comprehensible explanation of Wiles's work and of the star-, trauma-, and wacko-studded history of Fermat's last theorem. Fermat's Enigma contains some problems that offer a taste of the math, but it also includes limericks to give a feeling for the goofy side of mathematicians. ... Read more

Reviews (199)

5-0 out of 5 stars A human drama unfolds ... in a mathematical world!
This is a remarkable and engrossing human story about the search for the proof to the age old Fermat's last theorem. A story which tells the tale of one man's unflinching determination and single minded devotion to the cause of this proof. The events which unfold and the riveting account of Andrew Wiles journey to glory are told in this gripping tale by Simon Singh. Singh's master storytelling abilities are very well exemplified and will be appreciated by one and all. Those not inclined mathematically will also gain insights and concepts of mathematics and also get a peek at the lives of the mathematicians who are featured in this book.

Andrew Wiles read about this theorem when he was barely ten year old in a library while flipping through one of E.T. Bell's book. The rest as we know is history because this particular moment became a turning point in young Wiles life. This would force him to take a career in mathematics and lead a rigorous life in mathematics. Later he would be shutting and isolating himself from the outside world so that he could devote his complete attention to the task at hand - to solve this 17th century conjecture devised by the great Pierre Fermat. History saw this theorem remaining unsolved for 350 years, which eluded mathematicians like Euler, Sophie Germain, Lame, Kummer, Cauchy et al. but who nevertheless had their own bit of contribution to the proof in particular and mathematics in general.

Andrew Wiles mathematical proof of the century was not without its share of pitfalls. After announcing the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem in June 1993 with much fanfare and publicity, Wiles didn't have the wildest idea about what was in store for him... something which will almost make him accept defeat...

Though Prof. Wiles succeeded in his endeavor, his proof was based on post-Fermat mathematical ideas like the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture, Galois group theory, Iwasawa theory and the Kolyvagin-Flach method. Fermat on the other hand had claimed that he possessed the proof for the theorem which obviously was based on mathematics of his time...

A great read. Recommended for one and all.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story, well told
In solving the 350-year-old problem of Fermat's "last theorem", Andrew Wiles faced the challenge of weaving together disparate fields of mathematics and inventing a few new ones - his success is documented here. But Simon Singh faced a parallel challenge in writing this book, and must be appreciated for his achievement.

Popularizers of mathematics face the inherent twofold challenge of (a) taking some portion of a subject that the huge majority of readers are frankly afraid of and making it interesting and (b) representing the vast power underlying mathematical ideas while remaining intelligible. In the former case they often frankly succeed by the self-selection of their readers. This now-narrowed readership is then typically more approachable with the mathematical challenges of the latter. Hence the success of Stewart, Paulos, Devlin and the like.

Singh's challenge was increased because of the addition of that third element. The range of mathematics which Wiles' proof and the history of the problem traversed is, simply put, incredible. On top of that, the mathematics behind Wiles' proof was acknowledged in the mathematical community to be at a level that even 95% of mathematicians could not comprehend. How to distill that in a meaningful way?

The one thing Singh had going for him was the pure magic of the story. A mathematical problem simple enough to be understood by a 10-year-old is launched, in fact, on the epic story of its pursuit by a real 10-year-old over 30-odd years! He uses this and his considerable skills as a writer to tell a story that is gripping throughout.

But Singh does not shy away on the mathematics. He does. For instance, a fine job of presenting the notion of rigorous mathematical proof. Having poked around this topic for a few years, I would also have to say that his is the best "lay" presentation of some of the most challenging elements of the mathematics of the proof, so called "modular forms" and "elliptic curves", that I have read.

Along the way, this book does a wonderful job of representing the sometimes turbulent, but fascinating lives of working mathematicians - especially those at the peak of their craft. I suspect that this book, together with NOVA's "The Proof" (and perhaps with some credit to Wiles!) has led to the recent swell in fictionalized accounts of such lives (and such proofs). I, for one, was led to read the delightful "Uncle Petros and the Goldbach Conjecture" and "The Wild Numbers" (casting light on the grayer lives of less-talented mathematicians) and noticed the arrival of the new, hit Broadway play, "The Proof". All three available here on Amazon!

5-0 out of 5 stars Awe-inspiring book!!
Awe-inspiring book from Dr. Simon Singh. This book narrates the mathematician Andrew Wiles' effort to solve Fermat's Last Theorem. The theorem proposed by mathematician Pierre de Fermat has remained without any mathematical proof for centuries in spite of various attempts until Andrew Wiles provided the proof for the theorem.
The author traces the history of mathematics from Pythagoras, Euler, Fermat to the modern day Andrew Wiles. The author has narrated the story in simple and beautiful English. Recommended for anyone who wants to get inspiration and motivation from the efforts of mathematicians and apply it. Wonderful book!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Geeks!
I heard about this story in a documentary and was intrigued, even though I am mathematically challenged. I bought it on a whim, though I expected it may end up on the shelf of books that I'll never get to but make me look smarter for owning them.

One day I decided to give it a try for a few minutes. Several hours later I was deep into it and giving up sleep to read "one more chapter".

Singh does an excellent job of explaining complex mathematical problems so even I could understand them. Even so, I doubt that math geeks will find these sections condescending or oversimplified. For those like me who have negative physical reactions at the mere mention of math, the math sections are actually interesting to follow, and they add to the story so you can really understand what is going on.

Mostly, this book is an interesting history of the mathematical problem the title implies. The story is well paced, organized chronologically, and has an excellent mix of literary devices to keep you flipping pages well past bedtime.

This book has now ended up on the shelf of books I intend to re-read periodically.

4-0 out of 5 stars So much fun, like a chocolate truffle
This is a bite-sized book that you'll definitely enjoy even if you don't know anything about mathematics. It's a good story told well. Don't expect much beyond that, though. You'll read it in a day and pass it on to a friend. But that's not a bad thing. ... Read more


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